Moving a Historical Building
The north part of Anna Maria Island underwent major remodeling as a couple of large construction projects dominated the landscape in mid May. The most unusual project was the relocation of the historical Angler’s Lodge, which had sat on North Bay Boulevard for 97 years.
On May 23, a temporary steel bridge was built across Lake LaVista inlet, in order to move the 150-ton lodge to an empty lot on the other side of the water. The ultimate destination, the Historic Green Village on Pine Avenue, was to be reached the following day. The original plan was to start building the bridge by 7 am, and have the house moved across the water by noon. Not surprisingly, it took far longer … most of the day. This gave curious onlookers plenty of time to watch. The adjacent humpback bridge was filled with people all day.
The Angler’s Lodge was built in 1913. Until 1950, the building was called “Thelma by the Sea.” Thelma was the name of the daughter of the builder, Mr. R. J. Wood. In the 1940s, the second floor was added, and soon after, the building was called Angler’s Lodge.
On May 13 and 14, the City of Anna Maria is throwing a party to mark the 100-year birthday of the much-loved City Pier. As soon as the festivities are over, an extensive face-lift operation will transform the waterfront and pier entrance in a way that is intended to make the pier even more accessible and attractive to tourists than it is in its current simple state.
Such a marketing effort is in line with the origins of the pier, which was built in 1911 by the founding Bean family, in order to bring rich tourists to the new town of Anna Maria via steamer. The 776-foot-length of the pier was necessary to reach the deep waters needed by large boats.
In her book The Early Days 1893 – 1940, Carolyne Norwood, of the Anna Maria Island Historical Society, explains that George Emerson Bean, his son Will, and their associates had formed the Anna Maria Beach Development Company. They had built 60 homes, a hotel, bathing pavilion, bathhouse, church, school, post office and several stores, in just a few years. Now they wanted to generate some business. After the pier was built, the whole family went to great lengths to entertain those who arrived by boat. Bean’s 10-year-old daughter cruised around the steamers in a little red boat, greeting visitors. Another family member dressed up and told fortunes. A gift shop was opened at the foot of the pier.